Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Jan. T., 1966, No. 9, in case of Jeffrey J. Jones, a minor, by his parents and natural guardians, Robert E. Jones and Florence Jones and Robert E. Jones and Florence Jones, in their own right v. Mary C. Spidle and Charles P. Spidle, partners, t/d/b/a Spidle's Meat Market.
Daniel H. Shertzer, for appellants.
S. R. Zimmerman, III, with him Geisenberger, Zimmerman, Pfannebecker & Gibbel, for appellees.
Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Eagen dissents. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the decision of this case. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien.
Appellants argue that they are entitled to a new trial because of alleged abuses of discretion by the trial court. We find no such error and affirm the judgment.
On January 6, 1965, Jeffrey J. Jones, then three years old, was struck by a Volkswagen delivery truck owned by the appellees. The accident occurred on a one-way street in a residential neighborhood. At the time of the accident there were two cars parked on the right side of the street. An action of trespass was brought by appellants, as parents and natural guardians of Jeffrey and in their own right, to recover for Jeffrey's injuries. At the first trial, the trial court entered a compulsory non-suit but was reversed on appeal by the Superior Court and a new trial was awarded. Jones v. Spidle, 213 Pa. Superior Ct. 81, 245 A.2d 677 (1968). Trial was again held and resulted in a verdict for appellees. This appeal followed the denial
of new trial motions and the entry of judgment on the verdict.
As part of appellants' case on damages, Jeffrey's medical records were introduced into evidence under the hospital record exception. Included in these records was this statement: "boy ran between two parked cars -- and struck by front of truck." During his jury summation, appellees' counsel, over objection, read this statement to the jury to support his theory of the accident.
The trial court ruled that, since the appellants introduced the hospital records into evidence, it was proper for appellees' counsel to comment on everything contained in the hospital records. The trial court also sustained appellees' objection to appellants' counsel's statement, made in his summation to the jury, that the damaging passage in the hospital records was hearsay and not reliable, and refused to give a charge to the jury to the same effect. Appellants argue that these rulings constituted an abuse of discretion. We do not agree.
It is well established that hearsay evidence, admitted without objection, is accorded the same weight as evidence legally admissible as long as it is relevant and material to the issues in question. Commonwealth v. Boden, 399 Pa. 298, 308, 159 A.2d 894, 899-900 (1960); Stevens v. Reading St. Railway Co., 384 Pa. 390, 395, 121 A.2d 128, 131 (1956); Poluski v. Glen Alden Coal Co., 286 Pa. 473, 476, 133 Atl. 819, 820 (1926); Schade v. Milk Control Comm'n, 196 Pa. Superior Ct. 14, 17, 173 A.2d 647, 648 (1961). Furthermore, evidence admitted by stipulation or consent of both parties is fully competent and accorded full weight although it ...